PRETORIA – Former President Thabo Mbeki has started testifying at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry’s sitting in Pretoria.
President Jacob Zuma set up the commission to investigate fraud and corruption related to thecontroversial multibillion rand arms deal.
The former president chaired a cabinet committee responsible for the deal and signed off on contracts.
Mbeki’s evidence today follows that of former minister of finance Trevor Manuel and defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota.
Mbeki says the decision to buy arms was unanimously adopted by parliament after an exhaustive and transparent process was completed.
He says as chair of an inter-ministerial committee, he played a supervisory role over arms deal work that was conducted at a ministerial level.
The former president says there was a need to acquire modern technology to enable the defence force to operate in a global arena.
Mbeki says there was also a need to shift the attitude of the population towards the defence force, which had historically been used by the apartheid regime to oppress the people.
Two days have been set down for the former president to testify, but Eyewitness News understands he is expected to conclude after just one day.
Meanwhile, the Right 2 Know Campaign is picketing outside the hearing.
It believes Mbeki can provide a full account of why the country committed to a multibillion rand deal.
The campaign's Murray Hunter says the former president should use this opportunity to come clean.
“When it comes to former President Mbeki, it is absolutely vital that he uses this opportunity to come clean on the arms deal’s secrets. This is why Right2Know is picketing outside this morning.”
(Edited by Tamsin Wort)
Eye Witness News
COMMENTS BY SONNY
ZUMA GOT RID OF MBEKI - CAN MBEKI GET RID OF ZUMA?
THEY WERE ALL IN ON THE "BIG PROFITS" TOGETHER!
JUSTICE WILL NOT BE SERVED HERE!